FTL suffers for having a final boss

General discussion about the game.
spacecadet13
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby spacecadet13 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:48 am

I don't get it. It's a boss! It's THE boss! It's SUPPOSED to be Godly and Unfairly Powerful! Take away the drone swarm and laser blasts and it's just a big Rebel Rigger with few extra crew. Is that really what you want the game to end with? Is that worth grinding through 8 sectors and 100 beacon jumps for?

Besides, there are multiple ways to mitigate against the swarm and blast; cloak, evasion, max shields, taking down the 'standard' weapons/taking down the 'standard' drones. Or just blowing the mother up ASAP.

The swarm and blast and extra lives don't make the boss unbeatable, they just make it difficult. Which is exactly as it should be.
UltraMantis
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Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby UltraMantis » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:27 am

Noone said unbeatable. Most players expected a big tough fight when they reached the boss for the first time. Maybe even an unfair fight, but one that all previous ones built up to.

There's an extra layer of difficulty in presenting a new and so far unseen problem (individual weapons, power surge, 3x larger crew, backup AI, etc) to the player at this late stage in the game. Even the entire Last Stand can be confusing since it works differently.

That's what the complaints over difficulty are about. There is difficulty in being attacked by what you know and then there is FU difficulty in beaing beaten down by what you couldn't imagine or predict. You had to learn by dying.

Wheter that is extra difficulty or poor design is debatable, but the argument that all the preceding fights teach you nothing about defeating the boss stands. It's hard to imagine figuring out a 'clever' way to deal with the boss, not in so little time. Pretty much you either blindly stumbled into a strong combination of weapons and equipment, or you came prepared and upgraded the ship fully (possibly failing to secure strong enough weaponry).

The major point imo, is that winning and losing should be the player's fault. Losing by misinterpreting the rules or having a new element introduced out of nowhere is not the player's fault.
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Kalir
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Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby Kalir » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:46 am

I had another massive multi-paragraph post ready, but UltraMantis summed it up more elegantly than I could.

In all seriousness, the best way to understand my point is to play another roguelike all the way to the endgame, one where there is no final boss. Brogue is probably one of the better options, because even without a final boss, and no matter what gear you have by the end of the game, surviving the bottom-most floors is a nerve-wracking challenge of its own, and far more suited to the game than just dropping you in a 10x10 room, throwing the Amulet of Yendor on a dragon, and telling the player "kill this". Whether you've got a massive sword and armor the size of a truck, an array of magical charms and staves, or merely a ring of stealth and a bunch of situational potions, Brogue still lets you use the skills you've honed all game, but the difficulty involved demands you to be so on the ball that you're levitating a few inches over it.
Satonakaja
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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby Satonakaja » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:07 am

As a new player myself, having only gotten the game a few days ago, here are the various (but not complete) ways I died to the flagship before I finally defeated it on easy:
1) Tri-missile launcher; couldn't get past the shield because I never found another weapon for the torus that dealt hull damage besides the initial attack drone

2) Tri-missile launcher again, but this time I had a Mk II Defense Drone. Unfortunately, I never found a store selling Drone Control.

3) Drone-spam power surge. I got stuck on this one for several playthroughs because three shields and a bit of stealth weren't enough. I was also surprised to learn that after hitting the flagship's drone control with a fire bomb and breach missile, setting every square on fire and causing a breach, that the power surge would still occur.

3b) http://cloud.steampowered.com/ugc/558709872191698877/85E8533F87D21CC88565BEA8D32019D78DA38F37/
The aftermath of that fight. After I set most of the ship on fire, asphyxiating most of the crew, running out of missiles and died due to being unable to pierce the shield, I was told that even if I succeeded in choking out the last of the crew, I'd have lost anyway because an AI would takeover. There was absolutely no way I could have predicted that, let alone the power surge operating after drones were disabled.

Honorable mention: The only reason I survived the third wave the first time I reached it was because I had full cloak, engines, and shields. There isn't really any way to counter the green laser spam besides turtling up and hoping for the best, especially when you can't disable the laser superweapon.

Many of my easy mode games ended with me being completely unable to damage the boss because I wasn't able to find/buy weapons to get past the shield or defenses against the flagship's brutal and unpreventable super attacks. As others in the thread said, dying because everything the game told you before and everything you learned being thrown out the window (especially the goddamn drone control, HOW DO YOU USE DRONES WITH A BURNING DRONE CONTROL ROOM?) is the most infuriating experience. And when I finally did defeat the flagship, my first thought wasn't "YES, I WAS ABLE TO DEFEAT IT WITH SKILL, EXPERIENCE, AND A BIT OF LUCK," it was more "Finally, I was able to defeat it because I got lucky with my loot and luckier with the boss attacks. Which doesn't speak very well for the flagship's design.
spacecadet13
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Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby spacecadet13 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:50 am

We'll agree to disagree on this. I feel that all previous jumps and battles DO lead you into the boss fight and do teach you how to win. Once up against the boss, you don't have to use any different tactics or weapons to those you've used the rest of the game. What has worked against all other ships works against the boss - boarding, targetting critical systems, volleys, allocating power appropriately ( 4 shields and the D Drone II, or 3 shields and the D Drone I & II?, or max evasion?). There are some wrinkles, for sure, but there are also some basic tactics that actually work BEST against the boss. You don't have to do anything 'magical', anything that there is no chance of you eventually figuring out by yourself, or anything outside the gameplay you've done in the lead up to the boss, you just have to do it right, at the right time(s). And your're gonna die - a lot - before you do.

And I have no problem with learning by dying, even if some of the deaths at - and often before - the boss, are on the harsh side. If a new player could just rock through the boss battles first time, that, to me, would be bad game design. If the boss can't smack a noob around, it's not a boss. It sure smacked me around good the first dozen or more times I got to it, and finally beating it was, in all honesty, one of the most satisfying gaming moments of my life! I'd done it! What had seemed impossible to begin had been done! Without that challenge/satisfaction balance, i doubt I'd have played FTL as much as I have. Hell, since I got it I've hardly touched D3, and when I do go back and grind a few levels for gold and items it seems cheap and pointless and just plain unsatisfying compared to FTL.

And the boss surprises are one-offs - you learn from your first boss encounter what you're up against, and fighting and dying teaches you what works and what doesn't. Same for the second and third rounds. Surprise the first time, then, hmmmm, how do I...? You die, you learn, you retry. And I love the random element, that sees you get to the boss each time with often wildly different loadouts - some great, some woeful. Or trying for victory on all the different ships.

I love the game as it is, and just feel that reducing the challenge of the boss, in any way, would cheapen the game and the sense of achievement that comes with victory.
UltraMantis
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Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby UltraMantis » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:17 am

Satonakaja wrote:Honorable mention: The only reason I survived the third wave the first time I reached it was because I had full cloak, engines, and shields. There isn't really any way to counter the green laser spam besides turtling up and hoping for the best, especially when you can't disable the laser superweapon.

Hi Satonakaja, welcome to the forum.

There is a little trick that helps with both surges. And it's to use only the 1st level of the cloak. Since it lasts a short time, it will recycle in time to avoid the next surge. Having more than 1lvl cloak is good for other enemies and it will take more damage before it's destroyed, but against the boss, try using only 1.

It's also a very good idea to buy a teleporter to disable it's weapons, but not neccesarily kill the rest of the crew.

Finally, breached rooms cannot be repaired by AI ships, making any breach capable weapon a great asset when fighting against the AI boss.
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spunkybd
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Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby spunkybd » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:20 pm

game should be endless :P :mrgreen: :geek: :ugeek:
Satonakaja
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:36 pm

Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby Satonakaja » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:24 pm

Thanks ultramantis!

The crew teleporter was actually how I defeated the first form very quickly during my victory. Really, if it's just one guy manning a rocket launcher, all you need is two not-zoltans or engis to take it down easily.

I did forget to bring back my human and slug before the ship FTL'd, sadly. ;_;

I didn't think about the lower shield though. That's a great idea.
EveryOne
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Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby EveryOne » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:19 am

Wheter that is extra difficulty or poor design is debatable, but the argument that all the preceding fights teach you nothing about defeating the boss stands. It's hard to imagine figuring out a 'clever' way to deal with the boss, not in so little time. Pretty much you either blindly stumbled into a strong combination of weapons and equipment, or you came prepared and upgraded the ship fully (possibly failing to secure strong enough weaponry).

The major point imo, is that winning and losing should be the player's fault. Losing by misinterpreting the rules or having a new element introduced out of nowhere is not the player's fault.


This. Lots of really hard games--including rogue-likes--do a great job of "training" your skills for the final boss. This game does not. That said, I don't think the boss should be removed altogether, rather, I think that the boss should be modified. Either lose some of the exceptions, or at the very least tell the player explicitly what "power surge" means in each stage. Beating the boss shouldn't be a matter of using an FAQ, it should be something that the player knows how to do by the time they get there. (Actually managing to perform said competence is another story...) :lol:
Skarthe
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: FTL suffers for having a final boss

Postby Skarthe » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:33 pm

I find phase 1 teleporter-spam, accompanied by either a Crystal (to prevent enemies from escaping to the medbay) or any kind of missile launcher (to destroy said medbay) to be a very reliable way to take down the final boss. Teleport into the weapons (aside from the heavy laser! Don't kill that guy. I find missile -> ion -> beam to be the best order.) and disable them in turn, then work your way through the rest of the crew. For phase 2, you'll want either a maxed-out engine or a cloak - as UltraMantis said, a one-power cloak is great for both phases 2 and 3, since it will usually come off cooldown at almost exactly the same time as the power surges do. Each phase, teleport into the non-heavy laser weapons as soon as possible and disable them; on phase 2, you might be able to hold off on disabling the beam in favor of disabling the drone control room if the boarding drone is being a pest.

I think the one time I actually went into an unwinnable situation is one run where I just didn't have enough weaponry to chew through phase 3's Zoltan shield before it recharged.

Incidentally, I don't actually remember how the fight went on my first win, where I was playing the Kestrel and had no cloak and no teleporter. I think that was my second time reaching the final boss; the first time, I got mauled by his tri-missile.

But yeah. I think the final boss is fine as it is, personally. If you read the flavor text at the start of each phase, you can kinda figure out what the power surges do, minus the part where they can't be disabled.

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